JAKARTA: Indonesia’s General Elections Commission (KPU) on Saturday (Feb 17) declared that 14 political parties will participate in next year’s legislative and presidential elections, with the addition of four new contenders.
The 14 parties successfully passed the Commission’s vetting process, with two other parties, the Crescent Star Party (PBB) and the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI) failing to meet the minimum requirement of a 75 per cent office representation in several provinces, and therefore unable to take part.
This is a landmark moment for the four new contenders: The Garuda Indonesia Movement Party (Garuda), the United Indonesia Party (Perindo), the Berkarya Party and the Indonesia Solidarity Party (PSI), who will be participating in a general election for the very first time.
The Working Party (Berkarya), established in 2016 and initiated by Tommy Suharto, the son of former President Suharto, is mostly comprised of former Golkar party members.
Golkar, was once led by the former President and is Indonesia’s second-largest political party. It is also a member of President Joko Widodo’s ruling coalition.
Former President Suharto's daughter also made an attempt at joining politics in the past. His oldest daughter, Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana who is popularly known as Tutut, formed the Concern for the Nation Functional Party (PKPB) in 2002 for the purpose of running for Presidency in 2004.
However, she failed to take part when her party performed poorly in the legislative election, securing just 2.1 per cent of the votes.
In 2012, three political parties, the National Republican Party which nominated Tommy Suharto, the Concern for the Nation Functional Party (PKPB), and the Republican Working Party formed by Suharto's grandson, Ari Sigit failed to pass the verification process by the General Election Commission.
This time around however, Tommy’s Working Party (Berkarya) has officially passed the necessary requirements. Both party logos, Berkarya and Golkar also feature a banyan tree.”
Tommy meanwhile, has been quoted by local media as saying that he wants the spirit of the "New Order Era" - the term coined for the era under Suharto’s reign - to “re-emerge.”
Perindo, was established by entrepreneur and founder of MNC Group, Hary Tanoeseodibjo in 2015.
The tycoon and ethnic Chinese-Christian, whose businesses range from media to property, first waded into politics in 2011, joining the National Democrat Party (NasDem).
After souring relations with fellow media tycoon, Surya Paloh, Hary left Nasdem in 2013 to join the Hanura party.
He served as running mate for presidential hopeful and current security minister Wiranto in 2014, only to resign prior to the elections in order to support Widodo and opposition Prabowo Subianto at the time.
In contrast the two other new parties, Garuda and the PSI, are both hoping to tap into the “youth” population.
PSI, is also said to be the party with the highest number of female members, amounting to 66 per cent of its total membership.
The remaining ten parties that have qualified for the elections are: the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) – the country’s largest political party, and the party which leads the current government’s coalition – the Democratic Party, the Gerindra Party, the Golkar Party, the Hanura Party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the NasDem Party, and the United Development Party (PPP).
The PBB and the PKPI have until Feb 21 to submit an appeal.